Breakout Sessions for Thursday, April 13, 2017

Jacqueline Leonard, University of Wyoming

Jacqueline Leonard, University of Wyoming

Moving towards social justice pedagogy in mathematics classrooms
Abstract:

Similar to earlier work on teaching mathematics for culturally relevance, teachers find it challenging to teach mathematics for social justice (TMfSJ) in everyday classrooms. According to some researchers, the problem lies in a lack of relevant examples to use as a context. Many examples related to politics and race are perceived as too loaded for students and teachers to grapple with. Others contend that mathematics is watered down and students do not get a proper curriculum if social justice is the focus.

While TMfSJ is not a panacea, students are concerned and knowledgeable of injustice in society. This breakout session will focus on creating a list of topics that may be used in the mathematics classroom that have significant social and mathematics contexts. For example, environmental justice and the plight of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe could be a topic that is relevant, safe, and offers significant mathematics as students may try to find an alternate yet economical route for the oil pipeline that does not infringe upon the tribe’s land and water rights.

Kathryn Scantlebury, University of Delaware

Kathryn Scantlebury, University of Delaware

Re-turning to matter in feminist STEM education: an examination of pedagogical practices, curriculum choices and agency
Abstract:

Material feminism could engage science educators in re-examining their practice from different perspectives and approaches by first considering how the material influences and impacts STEM teaching and learning. Secondly, material feminism also provides a framework for structuring research questions, data analysis and interpretation and a re-visioning of how the material influences those engaged with research.

The breakout session will explore how material feminism may offer a framework for STEM education researchers to engage with the material and materiality by considering educational spaces, material moments and entanglements. The methodological approach of the breakout session combines short discussion of the key facets associated with (new) material feminism followed by an interactive participant discussion of how curriculum, assessments and pedagogical practices are re-turned using material feminism.

Veronica I. Arreola, University of Illinois at Chicago

Veronica I. Arreola, University of Illinois at Chicago

Supporting Diversity in STEM during Political Turmoil
Abstract:

TBA

Veronica Berns, Northwestern University

Veronica Berns, Northwestern University

Comic-making for an educational environment
Abstract:

Though they may not have mastery over course material yet, students arrive in the college classroom already fluent in many learning styles: watching videos, listening to music, and reading comics. Challenging ourselves as educators to present classic material in new ways benefits everyone, from those who struggle to learn from textbooks to those who excel in a traditionally-formatted class. Looking at difficult material from a new perspective illuminates dormant connections and provides a more robust understanding of the topic—for both the student and the instructor.

After turning her PhD thesis into a comic book during graduate school, Dr. Berns started teaching a general chemistry lab course as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Chemical Education at Northwestern University. She incorporates comics and drawings into her lab lectures to illustrate concepts and emphasize safety. In this breakout session, Dr. Berns will present ideas for incorporating alternative communication formats (such as comics) into the classroom. You may be inspired to sketch some doodles, but no drawing experience is required!

Aigerim Bizhanova, Harold Washington College

Aigerim Bizhanova and Barbara Berchiolli, Harold Washington College

The Advantages and Challenges of Using Concept Mapping in Introductory Biology Courses
Abstract:

The typical community college student juggles school, work and family and has little time to study. Concept mapping is a valuable skill that can help students who fall into this category improve productivity and time management. It makes a large body of knowledge more manageable to learn. It deepens understanding of the relationship between concepts and it breaks up knowledge into small segments easier to learn and retrieve.

We have devised methods to integrate concept mapping in our teaching and are evaluating its impact on student learning in introductory biology courses. Research shows that concept mapping can be an effective tool to improve both student learning and teaching quality. We will discuss the benefits and challenges of using concept mapping, strategies to construct a concept map, as well as ways that formative and summative assessments can be used to evaluate the impact of concept mapping on student learning.

Ginevra A. Clark, University of Illinois at Chicago

Ginevra A. Clark, University of Illinois at Chicago

A Carbohydrate Chemistry Lab that Emphasizes Equity
Abstract:

It is estimated that between 2003-2006 racial disparities in healthcare cost $230 billion in direct medical costs, plus $1 trillion in indirect cost.* We have developed a lab to teach carbohydrate chemistry while also emphasizing the impact of disparities in health research.

We have developed a laboratory experiment in which students develop a test for sucrose intolerance. Importantly, sucrose intolerance is found in 10% of Inuit populations, though rare for individuals of Western European descent. This lab examines questions of who benefits from healthcare research and who decides how dollars are spent. It also poses interesting questions about food availability and nutritional guidelines.

From a chemistry perspective, the lab teaches foundational carbohydrate chemistry and biochemistry principles, eg: acid or enzyme catalyzed hydrolysis reactions and oxidation of reducing sugars. Students are given a procedure to test for amylase activity in “patient” serum samples. Students then use this knowledge to develop and perform a test for sucrose activity in “patient” bowel samples. Thus, students use their understanding to develop a new experimental procedure.

*TA LaVeist, D Gaskin, P Richard, “Estimating the economic burden of racial health inequalities in the United States.” Int J Health Serv. 2011;41(2):231-8.

Bennett Goldberg, Northwestern University

Bennett Goldberg and Susanna Calkins, Northwestern University

Effective Strategies for Active Learning in Large STEM Classes
Abstract:

This 45 minute breakout will introduce and model three strategies for engaging students in large STEM classes. Participants will come away having experienced active learning approaches as a learner, reflected on how to incorporate strategies into their learning contexts, and addressed common challenges and discussed techniques to overcome them. The workshop is designed to engage novices and more experienced practitioners, both faculty seeking to incorporate active learning for the first time as well as those looking to advance their approaches.

The workshop will be led by Bennett Goldberg, Director of the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching and Professor of Physics and Astronomy, together with Susie Calkins, PhD, and Director of Faculty Initiatives at the Searle Center. Bennett and Susie have been involved in designing and implementing active learning, measuring its impact on both faculty and students, and working with a wide range of faculty and programs. They will be joined by a couple of Northwestern faculty who successfully use active learning approaches in STEM classes.

Thomas Higgins, National Science Foundation

Thomas Higgins, National Science Foundation

NSF Programs in the Division of Undergraduate Education
Abstract:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has several programs that support undergraduate education. This presentation will discuss the four major programs in the Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE), strategies for writing strong grant proposals, and NSF resources available through nsf.gov. It will be followed by a question and answer period.

The four DUE programs are Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE), a transformative program that improves student learning and prepares the scientific leaders of tomorrow; Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarships (Noyce), a scholarship program for STEM majors who want to become K12 teachers; Scholarships in STEM (S-STEM), a scholarship program for academically talented and financially needy students earning STEM degrees; and Advanced Technological Education (ATE), a workforce program that helps students develop skills and earn credentials to get jobs in their communities.

Potential audience members are encouraged to browse the homepage of the NSF Directorate of Education and Human Resources (EHR) for other programs of interest, especially in the NSF Division of Human Resource Development (HRD). If you are interested in other NSF programs, please email Dr. Higgins and he will try to incorporate the material into his presentation.

EHR home page: http://www.nsf.gov/dir/index.jsp?org=EHR

HRD home page: http://www.nsf.gov/div/index.jsp?div=HRD

thhiggin@nsf.gov

Christine McCary, Northwestern University

Christine McCary (moderator), Northwestern University

Martina Bode and Jenny Ross, University of Illinois at Chicago

Owen Priest and Vinzenz Unger, Northwestern University

Best practices in applying active learning strategies in large STEM courses
Abstract:

It is generally accepted that active-learning techniques are of great benefit to students in STEM courses. Translating active learning to large enrollment courses continues to prove problematic for instructors. Furthermore, STEM courses are traditionally taught using a lecture-based approach, challenging the creativity of even the most engaging instructors. This interactive, panel-style breakout session will feature faculty who teach large-enrollment courses in biology, chemistry, and mathematics. Drawing from personal experiences, panelists will discuss utilization of active-learning strategies in the classroom. Session attendees will be encouraged to share their experiences. The goal of this session is for participants to walk away with materials and ideas that can be implemented in their next course offerings.

Ross Sweet, Northwestern University

Ross Sweet, Northwestern University

Peer-Assisted Reflection in a Flipped Calculus Course
Abstract:

A common argument against online homework systems in introductory classes is the lack of practice students have to write and refine solutions. In a first-quarter differential calculus course at Northwestern University, we implemented an additional homework structure to emphasize mathematical writing. Based on the work of Daniel Reinholz, Peer-Assisted Reflection (PAR) problems give students the opportunity to write, reflect on, and revise solutions to challenging problems.

In this breakout session, we will investigate the structure of PAR assignments and the process of developing students' peer evaluation skills by actively working through a sample PAR session. We will also discuss the complementary roles of online homework systems and PAR problems in a flipped course model, student outcomes, and the use of PAR as a professional development resource for graduate student teaching assistants.

Roy Tasker, Purdue University

Roy Tasker, Purdue University

Evidence-informed, best practice visualisation for a deeper understanding of science: the learner experience
Abstract:

We cannot expect novices to learn easily from complex visualizations that portray our expert mental models of the molecular world, and then expect novices to just adopt them for understanding phenomena in chemistry. A constructivist learning design for meeting this teaching challenge will be modelled in this breakout session [1].

You will participate as a novice in a learning design informed by a cognitive learning model. We will choose two topics covered in any chemistry course and draw storyboards for what we think is going on at the molecular level. Then we will use VisChem animations [2] and Odyssey simulation software to refine our model if necessary, and see how both animations and simulations are required to visualize structures and processes at this level satisfactorily. The focus will be on giving you a reason to care about the topic, provide new insights, and address the challenge of directing attention to specific features in these visualizations.

[1] Tasker, R., & Dalton, R. (2006). Research into Practice: Visualisation of the Molecular World Using Animations. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 7(2), 141 - 159. See http://www.rsc.org/images/Tasker-Dalton%20paper%20final_tcm18-52113.pdf .

[2] Go to the VisChem web site http://vischem.com.au and access the freely downloadable resources from the Scootle link.